This is a hard post to write. Not because I am tearing, or because it is overly emotional. It is because I don’t know how to start it or how to put it. I guess the best way it to say it right from the start.
I am going to meet my grandson for the first time this weekend. Andrew’s and Jovi’s son. He is about eighteen months old and it is the first time I will see him. Dorothy was there for the birth, and Andrew and Jovi spent time with him last spring, but this is the first time I will see him.
Now for the backstory.
A little over two years ago, after they had been living together for a while, Jovi got pregnant. The two of them spent that summer in our home here in NY and Jovi did not know what to do so they waited until they returned to Boulder to take the test and it came back positive. After some thought and conversations they decided to keep the baby full term and put him up for adoption at birth. They called Dorothy and I and we fully supported their decision. They knew, as did we, that they were too young to keep the baby, and Dorothy and I were to old to start again with a new baby. They wanted this baby to have a wonderful and fulfilling life and the best way for that to happen was to let go of him to a loving family who would raise it as their own. For those of you who don’t know, Jovi was adopted herself.
The next several months were pretty amazing. We traveled to Boulder every other week to take jovi to the doctor, to meet with adoption agencies, to sign papers with them, and to make sure everything was going well. They learned about and decided on an open adoption, which meant that they would be a limited part of the babies life, seeing him once a year, getting pictures of him regularly, and knowing how he was doing. It was pretty amazing to see this young couple mature so much and make all of these decisions and be so responsible. Dorothy and I were there to help them, but make no mistake, they decided on the family themselves, they went to court to sign the papers, and they did everything. We were standing behind, offering them advice and supporting them the whole time, but it was their process.
The family. One decision they made was that they were eventually going to return to New York and they wanted to be close to him (yes, it is a him), so they chose a NY agency to lead the placement. They looked over dozens of very detailed family profiles and had to make the hardest decision of their lives – who were they going to give their own flesh and blood over to. Andrew wanted the baby to be the first child that this couple had, he wanted it to be special in that way. Jovi wanted a family that traveled and saw the world – something she was never able to do but wanted her baby to have the chance for. They wanted a family they said that would spend time with the baby, rather than one that said that the family was wealthy and the baby would always be taken care of. They did eventually chose a family from Long Island. Far enough that they would not be tempted to go watch him from afar, but close enough that they could feel him nearby.
They first did a Skype session with the potential parents. I met the couple at the office before the Skype session, then they met Andrew and Jovi, and that went so perfect. They are warm and loving and we could all sense that. Then the couple went out to Boulder to meet them later on, which also went well. Andrew called us and he was so happy to meet them and his intuition told him how loving they were and how grateful his son would be raised by such wonderful people.
The baby was born in January last year, a few weeks early, happy and healthy. Dorothy arrived in Boulder a couple of hours after the birth and spend a week or so with the three of them for moral and physical support. We have many pictures of all of them with the baby. The adopting family arrived the day Dorothy left for home and spent several days with Jovi and Andrew in the hospital. Because the baby was small, and because it was an adoption, he spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. They did not want him to be alone, so Jovi was kept in the hospital as well.
People ask us if I went out there when the baby was born. No, I did not, or could not. I could not handle it and we all knew it. I spent way too much time with them during the process and was an emotional wreck at that point. If I had went out there and saw the baby, held the bay, looked into his eyes, who knew what would have happened. So we all made the decision for Dorothy to go at that point.
It was a very hard day for them when they left the hospital – alone. No matter how much you prepare for it, no matter how much you know you are doing the best thing for the baby, no matter what – it hurt them so much letting go. The baby stayed in Boulder another couple of weeks for legal reasons, and they spent time with him during those days. They called every night and told us how wonderful the couple was and how the baby was growing and eating and smiling.
They knew they made the right choice.
Andrew went back to studying, he just was in the middle of his Junior year. Jovi slowly went back to working. Every month they received pictures of the baby and exchanged e-mails with the parents. We cherish those pictures. They both had their son as their screen savers, background images, keychain pictures and on the wall next to their bed. As Dorothy and I do now.
What gives us great peace is that Andrew and Jovi went to see the baby when they were here in New York. They came home gleaming and bragging about their son. That visit made their spring. The picture we love the most these days is the one of Andrew holding his son. Now it is time for me to hold his son, for a few minutes.
We keep in touch with the parents, they still send pictures, we exchange emails, they even came to Andrew’s funeral – which meant more to us than anyone could imagine. They have pictures of Andrew as a young boy, as well as a young man. We have been writing letters to the baby and talking about Andrew and Jovi so that when he grows up he knows them through our words.
We have told people in person about the baby when we see them. Andrew’s friends tell us that he talked about his son a lot, with pride and honor gleaming from his bright face. Now it is time for me to meet my grandson for the first time. Nicole is going with us, she is excited to meet her nephew for the first time. There is so much more I want to say, and need to say, but I am going to keep that for later. I want to talk about how we feel, about the fact that a part of Andrew is still alive and how blessed we are to have him around. But more to come soon.
I hope you are as happy as we are about this. We are at a loss many times with our feelings, so happy at times when we look at the pictures, and yet so sad that Andrew is gone.
Happy Father’s Day, my son. You’re first one in heaven. Your son will miss you his entire life.